Podtrac says iHeartRadio had the biggest audience and most streams and downloads of any of the publishers it measures during February, as iHeart held on to the top stop for a fifth consecutive month. It said iHeartRadio had a unique U.S. audience of more than 25 million listeners and downloads and streams that topped 228 million.
NPR remained in second. Podtrac says it had more than 21 million unique listeners in the U.S. last month as the big radio operations – one commercial, the other noncommercial – held a sizable lead over the other publishers measured by Podtrac.
The New York Times remained in third place while Wondery held onto fourth place with its lineup of 111 podcasts.
Podtrac reports just four of the Top 20 publishers saw an increase in U.S. monthly audience in February compared to January. Barstool Sports is on that short list, and it rose from No. 8 to No. 4 as its unique audience jumped 10% and its streams and downloads increased 12% month-to-month.
PRX fell back to sixth place in February, while NBC News moved up two spots to No. 7. ESPN/ABC, Warner Media, and Cumulus/Westwood One rounded out the top ten. Podtrac said overall, the average U.S. unique monthly audience for the top 10 publishers was down 10% month-over-month.
The February ranker also showed This American Life numbers on their own for the first time. Previously, they were combined with Serial. But Serial Productions was acquired by the New York Times last July. The Ira Glass-hosted series produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, had a unique podcast U.S. audience of 3.1 million and had nearly 10.3 million downloads in February. The program is also delivered to public radio stations by PRX.
Four of the top 20 podcast publishers measured by Podtrac had month-to-month increases in their U.S. monthly audience in February. And three publishers saw growth in their global download numbers. Among the top 20, downloads were decreased an average 13% between January and February although downloads were up two percent last month compared to a year ago.